Employers Could Make a Costly Mistake With Early Health Insurance Renewal

July 15, 2013

DENVER, CO--(Marketwired - Jul 15, 2013) - Many Colorado employers are considering renewing their health insurance early. For business owners, this deliberation is being driven by confusion about changes in healthcare, and for larger businesses, specifically by their struggles to understand how the Affordable Care Act employer mandate delay announced this month will affect health insurance decisions for them and their workforce. According to Colorado HealthOP, Colorado's first statewide nonprofit health insurance cooperative (CO-OP), the decision to renew early could be a costly mistake.

"Business owners are feeling a lot of pressure to quickly lock in their 2014 health insurance rates. They are confused about the insurance landscape, and many insurance carriers are encouraging or providing incentives for early renewal," said Julia Hutchins, chief executive officer of Colorado HealthOP. "Unfortunately, those that do not consider their options in 2014 prior to renewing may be missing out on opportunities to make smarter choices for their employees' health and their bottom line."

For many employers, waiting and exploring new options available in 2014 may be a better alternative. Colorado HealthOP shares these four reasons why waiting to renew health insurance may be the best choice for many business owners:

1. Small employers will have more health insurance options. The number of carriers actively selling products in the small group market in 2014 has increased. New companies like Colorado HealthOP are offering innovative products that may be a better fit for employers committed to the health and wellness of their workforce.  

2. Employees of small businesses get more choices. Small businesses that purchase insurance through Connect for Health Colorado's small group exchange have the opportunity to offer their employees a choice of multiple health plans from multiple carriers, rather than contracting with one overarching health plan. For employers that have historically not been able to give their employees a lot of choice, this is a major benefit of waiting to renew.

3. Businesses of all sizes have the option of considering whether the individual market may actually be best for employees. For some employers, directing employees to Connect for Health Colorado to purchase a health plan may actually allow their employees to access richer benefits at a lower cost. This is especially true for businesses with a large percentage of employees who qualify for income-based subsidies. 

4. Employers and individuals may be able to access health plan prices that are comparable to current renewal prices. When preliminary insurance rates were released in early June, small businesses and individuals alike were pleasantly surprised to see reasonable prices comparable to 2013. When Connect for Health Colorado launches in October, employers and individuals may find that there is financial benefit in waiting to renew their health insurance in Colorado

"As a responsible manager of their employees' benefit plan, business owners need to research their options and do their financial due diligence, particularly around early renewal," said Hutchins. "This is particularly important to ensure that early renewal does not put the business at risk for future financial or legal problems."

To help reduce the confusion, Colorado HealthOP is offering a free health insurance analysis to help employers determine if renewal of their current plan, purchasing a plan on the health insurance marketplace or directing employees to the individual market is likely to be the best choice for them. The analysis considers the size and composition of a company's workforce and determines the optimal path for employers.

To learn more about how changes in healthcare will impact businesses, please visit www.COhealthOP.org/Employer to opt in to updates from Colorado HealthOP. To schedule a free health insurance analysis, contact Colorado HealthOP at 720.627.8900.

About Colorado HealthOP
Colorado HealthOP offers a new alternative to traditional health insurance in Colorado. A nonprofit health insurance cooperative, Colorado HealthOP and its members are committed to providing affordable, quality coverage to individuals and employers interested in making a difference in their own health, their employees' health and the health of their community. Colorado HealthOP aims to improve health outcomes by putting the responsibility for consumers' care back into the hands of the cooperative's members and providers. A private market solution tailored for individuals and employers, Colorado HealthOP will begin open enrollment on October 1, 2013 via Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado's health insurance marketplace, and through independent brokers and agents. Coverage will begin January 1, 2014. For more information about Colorado HealthOP, please visit www.COHealthOP.org or call 720.627.8900.